Tag Archives: Terrence Brewer
Scanning the February music listings it seems like Berkeley has become the western-most neighborhood of Brooklyn, with a steady stream of exceptional improvisational ensembles performing in intimate settings.
Last week, the Rez Abbasi Acoustic Quartet played a breathtaking set at the California Jazz Conservatory. On Sunday percussionist Ches Smith returns to the Bay Area with his trio featuring pianist Craig Taborn and violist Mat Maneri for a concert at the Berkeley Arts Festival space, where trombonist Ryan Keberle makes his Bay Area debut as a bandleader with Catharsis on Tuesday (as part of a double bill with Berkeley clarinetist/composer Ben Goldberg‘s group featuring alto saxophonist Kasey Knudsen and drummer Hamir Atwal).
What these three groups have in common, aside from residing in New York City, is that they’ve all forged intensely distinctive group sounds employing unorthodox instrumentation. Smith, who lived in Albany for a decade, earned a graduate degree from Mills and describes formative experiences catching concerts at the lamented downtown Berkeley venue Beanbenders, moves unpredictably between trap set, percussion and vibraphone, giving his compositions a different inflection with each performance. … Continue reading »
It’s been at least two generations since jazz stars took on aristocratic titles, otherwise Dianne Reeves would surely be known as The Queen. The gorgeous singer with an even more glorious voice is one of jazz’s most regal figures, an artist who embodies the music’s enduring values of elegance, class and improvisational poise (which isn’t to say that she can’t get earthy when the music requires a little grit).
She’s a performer with a gift for transforming any space she inhabits into her living room, where she spins evocative tails for her listeners. Over the years I’ve seen her tear the roof off little theaters and mesmerize the Hollywood Bowl, where she put together events for several years as the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s first head of jazz programming.
“Small, large, it doesn’t make a difference,” says Reeves, 55, who plays Friday at Zellerbach Hall for Cal Performances with her longtime pianist and music direcotr Peter Martin, bassist Reginald Veal, drummer Terreon Gully, and Brazilian guitar master Romero Lubambo. “No matter where you are, it’s all the same place when it comes to communicating with an audience.” … Continue reading »